I’m not gonna sugarcoat it. Obesity has become an alarming problem in the US. One in three kids are considered overweight, which is a shocking statistic if you think about it. Especially because we know that kids who are carrying extra pounds deal with such a wide range of serious issues, from bullying and crippling self-esteem problems to physical ailments. Obesity can be blamed for high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, joint problems, high cholesterol and even depression.
No parent wants their child to endure these painful realities, and yet the number of overweight kids just keeps climbing. It might be hard for some people to hear, but I really think that in many cases your overweight child’s issue starts at home.
It’s our job as parents to teach children to develop good relationships with food. Obese and overweight kids often have overweight parents, and it’s the parents who are controlling the quality of the food and the portions being served. The trouble is, many of us don’t have a good relationship with food ourselves. Life is busy, and food just keeps getting more and more…convenient: fast food, frozen food, microwavable dinners that are ready in three minutes. A lot of folks just feel like they don’t have time to cook.
I get it. But believe it or not, changing the way you eat might not be as hard as you think.
Of course, there are medical and genetic issues that can contribute to weight gain, as well as side effects from some drugs. But if your doctor has ruled these out as potential culprits in your child’s weight gain, it’s time to start getting serious about making some changes to your lifestyle.
Remember: you’re the boss. You are the one setting the example, and you are the one making the big decisions about what kind of food gets consumed in your family. There’s a very interesting scene in the Ted Talk by Jamie Oliver about childhood obesity in America where he asks a group of school-aged kids to identify common vegetables (beets, potatoes, tomatoes) and the kids are completely stumped. They can’t identify a cauliflower because they are being served frozen corn dogs and fries for dinner instead of cooked meals from scratch. Scary stuff.
Think about this story. When my sister was little her baby teeth became rotten from my mom allowing her to drink too much apple juice. When my mom complained to the doctor one day, he said very bluntly, “Stop buying the apple juice.”
I know that sounds like a simple solution, and I realize making huge changes to lifestyle can be difficult. But most of the time, eating well just comes down to good organization. There’s no reason why cooking a fresh, healthy stir-fry can’t be as fast as heating up frozen chicken nuggets.
Diet alone isn’t to blame for the rise in obesity. Kids are spending WAY too much time in front of screens and not exercising enough. Kids who are on screens more than four hours a day (which is three hours less than the average) are more likely to be overweight than kids who are on them for two hours or less. So start cracking down on screen time, and send those kids out to play
If you’re dealing with obesity in your family, it’s time to educate yourself about how to make healthy, fast meals for you and your family. Get out and go for hikes together, or go swimming or skating together. Set a positive example about how to treat your body so you feel good and have more energy. Your kids might miss eating junk food, but they will have a longer, healthier life thanks to you.
If you are struggling with getting your kids to eat healthy foods, you will want to check out The Food Sense Program. It was developed with the help of a nutritionist and is designed to eliminate some of the most common challenges around mealtime. Just see what one mom had to say below!
When I first found your website, my daughters were driving me crazy with their constant food demands. I felt like I was a short order cook in my own home. I would have to make TWO different breakfasts and dinners every day, since they didn’t like to eat the same things.
When I put their meals in front of them, they would sulk and pick away at their plates and tell me that they “didn’t like this food.” And then 10 minutes after they got up from the table they would start begging for yogurt and crackers!
A friend told me about your website, and after following just a few of the things you say, I’m thrilled to report that Hannah and Chloe are like two new children… There is no more whining for treats all day long, and mealtimes are actually a civilized time… or as civilized as meals can be with a 2 and 5 year old.
Not only does The Food Sense Program come with steps you need to get your child eating better, it even has recipes to take the guesswork out!
If you are ready to get your child on the right track to eating well now, you can click the link below.